I ran into my Lakers friend in the cafeteria yesterday. He's an OK guy. Oddly enough, after the six-game sweep in the Finals, he seemed to wear a lot more green to work. Of course, I pointed this out whenever the occasion arose. Today he was wearing pink (he's married--to a member of the opposite sex).
Lex: Well, what did the Lakers do this off-season?
Laker Friend: Not much.
Lex: How do you like their chances next season?
Laker Friend: They'll be in the mix.
Ok. He's still struggling to get past June. I'll change the subject...slightly.
Lex: Well, what about the Hornets? Now they got Posey.
Laker Friend: Posey was good for the Celtics. But I'm not so sure he'll be that good for the Hornets.
Wanting to express my theory that the Ls were lucky not to have faced the Hornets in the WCFs, I'm tempted just to say exactly that. Instead, I ask take a different course.
Lex: How'd the Lakers do against the Hornets last year?
Laker Friend: We swept them, crushing them the last two games.
That one stopped me in my tracks.
Lex: Ok, maybe Pose won't help the Hornets all that much.
Turns out Laker Friend's memory was a bit off. After the Gasol trade, the Ls and Hornets split the two games they played, though Gasoft got injured in the Laker loss. The Lakers will have a healthy Gasoft this year, plus a presumably healthy Andrew Bynum.
The Hornets added Posey.
I'm still not convinced.
The Hornets were the best team in the West last year for most of the season. While they ended up finishing second to the Lakers for best record in the conference, the Hornets finished fifth overall defensively, or 14 slots ahead of the Lakers. Posey only makes the Hornets stronger defensively. He also gives Chris Paul another offensive weapon to go to.
I don't like Byron Scott, but he is pretty good at getting the most out of his team, at least for the first few seasons he is with a team. The Zen Mistress? He may not be overrated, but he certainly was called out by the Los Angeles media for his failings during the finals.
Give the Hornets another year of playing together, and I like their chances of competing well against the purple this year.